Document. Deed From Michael Woods (1) to son John, 1743



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Source:Woods, 1905
Woods, 1905, page 484


Person:Michael Woods (1)


Image:Deed from Michael Woods (1) to son John, 1743.jpg


Woods, 1905, includes this document in one of his appendicies. The document, and similar documents in the Appendix, were in the possession of a family descendant. A number of them were transcribed as "facsimilies" for publication. In this case, the document was photographed.

Woods notes a few things about this document.

1. Michael's name is given in two different spellings:

"Micahael Woods" and
"Micheall Woods", with a small 'm' inserted between 'Micheall' and 'Woods'

Woods 1905 believed that the small 'm', represented Michael's middle initial. This probably explains why many genealogists today give his name as "Michael M. Woods".

I believe this is an incorrect interpretation, as Scot Irish did not normally use middle names as early as 1684 when Michael is said to have been born. This style was not adopted in America until well after 1743. It is, however, in use by about 1760; persons born after that year (or a little before, increasing use a middle initial in written documents.

Since we have a photocopy of the written document itself (as opposed to a handwritten facsimile, or a transcription) we can make some additional comments based on the handwritting used in the document. First, as we would expect from the 1743 date, the document is written in copperplate script. Second, Michaels signature is written in the same had as the body of the document. Either Michael wrote the document out himself, signed it, and also wrote in the name of the two witnesses, or the document was written by another party, probably a clerk, who wrote in Michael's name, and that of the witnesses. I think the latter explanation is more likely. If so, the small 'm' may not represent Michael's middle initial, but his 'mark'. Perhaps he could not write, but had learned to use the first letter of his given name as his initial. Q 09:08, 26 January 2011 (EST)